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Cross Country: Northwestern enters regional meet eyeing NCAA Championships bid

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Aubrey Roberts leads a pack of runners. The sophomore will lead the Wildcats into NCAA Regionals on Friday.

Aubrey Roberts leads a pack of runners. The sophomore will lead the Wildcats into NCAA Regionals on Friday.

Source: Northwestern Athletics

Source: Northwestern Athletics

Aubrey Roberts leads a pack of runners. The sophomore will lead the Wildcats into NCAA Regionals on Friday.

Alison Albelda, Reporter

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Cross Country


When Northwestern takes on familiar foes at Friday’s NCAA Midwest Regionals in Ames, Iowa, the team will have an opportunity to qualify for next week’s NCAA Championships.

The Wildcats will race on Iowa State’s home course against a field that includes the No. 14 Cyclones, No. 19 Oklahoma State and Minnesota. The race marks the middle of championship season for NU and will see the Cats compete in their fourth 6K of the season.

NU placed eighth at the event in Iowa City last year, led by then-freshmen Aubrey Roberts and Sarah Nicholson. Roberts placed 4th with a time of 20:17.1, and Nicholson came in 18th, finishing the race in 20:43.8 last November.

Roberts — who shined with a sixth-place finish two weekends ago at Big Ten Championships in Bloomington, Indiana — said the team enters the next meet hoping to qualify for NCAA Championships.

“We have to set ourselves up for a great race,” Roberts said. “Individually, I want to be where I was last year place-wise, like within the top four … and then for the rest of our team, we want to make sure we are having high finishes and a low overall team score.”

The Cats will need to place in the top two to advance to NCAA Championships, held a week later in Louisville, Kentucky.

Coach ‘A Havahla Haynes said all seven of NU’s runners need to finish in the top 50 to have ideal team placement. She said the Cats will need to assert themselves early in the race to escape a crowded pack.

“They have to get out in the first 400 to 600 meters and get themselves in the right place so they don’t waste energy and time,” Haynes said. “We’ve been talking a little bit about how we need to be prepared and not scared.”

The race will feature more than 150 competitors, including regional rival Missouri, last year’s NCAA Midwest Regionals champion. NU beat the Tigers last month at NCAA Pre-Nationals.

The Cats enter Ames ranked fifth of 37 teams in their region, their highest regional ranking in the past four years.

Senior Isabel Seidel, the team’s third finisher two weeks ago in Bloomington, said NU has high expectations given its success this season and is determined to finish strong.

“It is a little daunting because it is tough to be in the top (50) … and so it is just a game now to see where we can end up,” Seidel said. “We have really nothing to lose at this point. We better give it our all.”

Email: alisonalbelda2021@u.northwestern.edu

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